Ottawa's Cannons tapped to open for Bon Jovi in Toronto tonight

After entering a contest online, an Ottawa band is "livin' on a prayer" by opening for one of the biggest names in the history of rock music in Toronto tonight.

Barrhaven's Cannons will take the stage at the Air Canada Centre ahead of mega-stars Bon Jovi on their current spring tour, and guitarist Marty Sobb is thrilled.

"Everyone at some point in time has put their fist in the air to a Bon Jovi song, you know? They're one of those upper-echelon bands that you never would think to get on a show with them," Sobb told Ottawa Morning host Hallie Cotnam on the phone from his hotel room in Toronto.

Cannons got on the bill through an online contest that sought local opening acts for Bon Jovi's tour.

Even though they're based in Ottawa and the show's in Toronto, Sobb decided to give it a shot anyway.

But the website wouldn't accept his postal code, so he emailed the promoter to make sure they got his submission.

"I entered it, uploaded our video, short bio, looked at all the other bands — I mean, there was hundreds of bands already uploaded — so I thought you know, it's a long shot. But we did it, and I kind of forgot about it. And then a couple weeks ago we got an email," he said.

'Amazing' opportunity

This opening slot will be another glowing highlight on the band's resume, which includes shows with other big rock acts like ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, 54-40 and the Goo Goo Dolls.

"Bon Jovi's been around forever, you know? It's been the early 80s since they've been givin' 'er. And it's just a big arena rock band," said Sobb. 

"They've travelled the world … and have had a consistent career for more than 30 years."

Sobb believes a band like Bon Jovi could have taken another big name on tour with them, but giving local acts the opportunity to open is "amazing."

He's excited to meet frontman Jon Bon Jovi, and he's thinking of a strategy to find a "level playing field" and have a conversation with one of the biggest rock stars in the world.

"There's so much to say. I might just end up staring at his hairy chest!" he said.

"He's an over-the-top kind of guy. But I mean, he's just a dude too, right?"